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Scott Thomas, ChFC®, CAP®, CKA®, RICP®

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Yes You Can Donate Your Crypto Currencies To Charity

Yes You Can Donate Your Crypto Currencies To Charity Some of the more popular crypto currencies have increased several hundred percent in the past year alone.  Majority of gains would seem to be attributed to the herd affect and we have seen business leaders talk up certain currencies and speculators go crazy driving prices higher. Your interested now in diversifying your large gains and go see your tax professional to discuss your success.  You find out short term gains are
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Perfect Storm in 2021 Giving Strategy

Perfect Storm In A Proven Charitable Giving StrategyWhat makes for a charitable giving perfect storm?1)Needs are greater now2)Taxes on Investments and Earnings Increased3)Uncertainty in stock & bond markets4)Super low bank CD rates5)Need for steady cash flow COVID, Unemployment, Higher Partial Employment, Medical and food needs have all increased significantly.  Mental and spiritual health declined and in need of resources. The need for positive messages and positive solutions is c
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Maybe It's Time To Revisit The Idea of Banking W Credit Union Or Community Bank

Maybe It’s Time To Revisit The Idea of Banking With Credit Union Locally Reason 1  Not tied to Federal Reserve Bank“The Federal Reserve does not supervise or regulate credit unions. Federally chartered credit unions are regulated by the National Credit Union Administration, while state-chartered credit unions are regulated at the state level. The Fed is one of several banking regulatory agencies at the federal 
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Asking Better Questions Regarding Your Investments

I was asked this week by a stranger "how many stocks should I own in my portfolio?"  Seems like reasonable question however there are a lot of things to discover first. What is your time horizon for the money? Do you have stable income sources or appropriate stable money to weather a major economic downturn? Have you invested into stocks in the past and how did you feel with the markets declined? What is your registration or the type of bucket your holding stocks into? Is it quali
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Questions to Ask an Attorney Doing Gift and Estate Tax Planning

Questions to Ask an Attorney Doing Gift and Estate Tax Planning:Experience How long have you been in practice?Can you tell me a little about your practice?How many lawyers in your firm?What is your client base made up of?What percentage of your clients is Christian/non-Christian?What are your areas of specialty?Have you handled complex situations?Give me an example of some of the complex cases you have handled.Have you handled many cases in my area of need (estate planning, business succession,t
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Attended A Friend's Funeral This Week

Michael was full of life and lived well for 64 years on earth.  His funeral or memorial was a real tribute to his impact and wisdom he shared with family and friends. About 15 years ago our children played togther and we invested some time into each others lives for a short time as we have mutual friends.  I remember foundly his humor and laughs and deep beautiful voice.Question: What do you want your life story to reflect? What story are you writing in the decisions you are making tod
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Financial Wisdom for 2021

Financial Wisdom in 2021We desire to make wise choices and it is not just about being smart or intelligent. Lots of smart people fail or make poor choices for various reasons: emotional bias, believing in bad source, trusting a person or company over process and accountable actions and lack of sound advisors or counselors.King Solomon wrote: “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  He also wrote “with many counselors plans will succeed.”  In 2021 we a
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Sequence of Returns Risk Explained

Sequence of Returns RiskIf your planning to rely on stock market for retirement income your hoping for the best. that is because a simple run of bad luck early in retirement can turn your financial life upside down.Let's look at two fictional retirees Bob and Ted. Both have $500,000 invested identically in index fund when they retire and neither one takes any distributions. Notice the returns or index sequence is REVERSED on them. Notice they have the same gain or amount after 20 years. 
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Socially Responsible Investing: Two Main Approaches

Socially Responsible Investing: Two Main Approaches 1)Values/Impact Approach.  Investors while continuing to focus on financial returns over time also want to ensure that their investments will have a positive social and environmental impact.  Not just individual investors but may include foundations, family offices and religious institutions as well.2)Performance/Risk Reduction Approach.  Investors consider ESG criteria in investment analysis and shareholder engagement prima
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Married Couples Money Help

I read a recent study that indicated 77% of married couples have a very hard time talking about money.  If they do talk about money often negative outcomes or stresses on the marriage.Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn at best selling authors of For Women Only and For Men Only. Here is their really great resource Goal Setting Questionnaire.   They address how men and women view money differently and what are the fights about as well as how to get on the same page.One of the ways I have per
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What to Do When a Loved One Is Terminally Ill

Getting the news that your loved one is terminally ill is never easy. It’s one of the most difficult things you can walk through. But even in the midst of that hard time, it’s important that you follow certain steps to make it as comfortable a process for them and for you.So what do you do when a loved one is terminally ill? Here are 3 steps to help you.
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Learning to Say ‘No’ to Your Kids’ Demands for Money

What do you do when your child asks you for an expensive item? Do you give it to him?I believe saying yes isn’t always what’s best for your child. I remember when my son—who was 12 years old at the time—came up to me with a similar demand. Here's what happened.
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How to Help Your Teen Save Money for a Car

I’ve had a lot of experience talking with financial clients over the years, and one thing that I hear from them from time to time is: “How do I help my child save up for a new car?”That’s an important question for parents. Here’s what I recommend.
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What Is a Charitable Gift Annuity and Is It Right for Me?

It's common for people to leave a substantial amount of money to a charity upon their death. But why wait until you're gone to give to your favorite charities and nonprofits? Instead, by using a Reinsured Charitable Gift Annuity program, you can make a secure donation that has many tax advantages over the course of your lifetime.
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Benefits of Using a Reinsured Charitable Gift Annuity Program

Did you know there’s a way to make a tax-savvy charitable gift and get a lifetime of tax-advantaged income? There is! With the right Charitable Gift Annuity, you don’t have to worry about taxes or the negative impact of turning appreciated assets like stocks and real estate into steady and certain cash flow. The key, though, is finding the right Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) that works for you.
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Save Money in Taxes by Bunching Your Deductions

Dealing with taxes each year can be a complicated process, especially when you itemize your deductions. With how much time it consumes, many have wondered, Is there another way to do this? Thankfully there is, and it’s called bunching your deductions.
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What Is a Donor-Advised Fund?

Want an easy way to fund your favorite charities and avoid unnecessary taxes? Want more control over your giving? Or do you want a way to donate anonymously and still be able to count it as a tax deduction? Then a donor-advised fund might be the best option for you.
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Eldercare Is an Event, Not a Place

If you think of eldercare as a place, then you’re mistaken. Instead, eldercare is an event that occurs.Eldercare can occur at home or another’s home. It could take place through independent living or assisted living or skilled nursing. So then the question remains: How can it be funded practically?
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Budgeting Basics: 5 Things You Can Spend Money On

Did you know God has called you to steward your money well? That means earning, saving, and spending your money in a way that honors God and is responsible. To do that, though, you need to understand some budgeting basics.
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7 Timeless Truths About God’s Money

No matter what changes throughout history, there are 7 timeless truths about God’s money that will always stay the same. These truths are vital if you want to grow as a good steward of the resources God has given you. In today’s article, I want to walk you through those 7 timeless truths one by one.
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What's in Your Hand?

Several times in the Bible God would say, “What's in your hand?” Moses had a staff, a boy had five loaves and two fish.
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Beliefs Start Our Journey Towards Destiny

Let’s look at some foundational elements to our beliefs, let’s see how they can positively influence our feelings as well as our actions.
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The Difference Between a Worldly and Biblical View of Investment

Jesus talked a lot about abundance and yet we tend to think in scarcity, so how do we change our mindset from a worldly mindset of scarcity to a biblical mindset of abundance?
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What Is Hyper Bunching And How It Benefits Generous Donors

How can a revisionary trust bunch or heap or squeeze many years of future gifts into benefits for today? Why is 2020 the perfect time to do this type of planning? What is Hyper Bunching and what are the best conditions? As a philanthropic sherpa I can guide you in your giving journey and provide value beyond what many think to be possible.Did you know the Federal Rate 7520 is one of the lowest rates ever? This makes for great time to get much more significant tax deductions today.Here was a shor
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Income Tax Strategy For Generous People

I want to share a current income tax strategy you're not likely to hear from mainstream sources of tax information. It's been around for a couple decades but many professionals don't look out for this straightforward strategy.
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Let's Honor Aunt Ginger's Wishes!

Why leave your estate potentially in conflict? What if you name your favorite charities in your will or trust as a partial beneficiary – what's wrong with that?
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Do You Want to be More Generous?

Would you like to be more generous? I mean really more generous! Like finding dollars you didn't know even existed!
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Money Tree

Who doesn’t like the concept of a “money tree” or the goose that lays the golden eggs? Owning stocks, bonds, real estate or a private business are a version of “money Tree.” A pension, annuity or even Social Security represent a version of a “money tree.”Are you generous or want to be more generous towards your favorite charities?  Listen to this- The Charitable Money tree is one of the most reliable ways to creating tax-advantaged income from your
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Charlie Wants To Fund Kingdom Impact Today

Charlie Wants To Fund Kingdom Impact Today. Charlie recently retired and his financial advisor tells him he has funded his retirement needs and future healthcare costs and has excess funds. He loves to ride his motorcycle with friends and share his love for Jesus.
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Are You A Major Gifts or Planned Gifts Officer For Nonprofit?

Are You A Major Gifts or Planned Gifts Officer For Nonprofit? I want to share a strategy on how you can turn what is traditionally a long term planned gift into a major current gift today.
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3 Myths Regarding Reinsured Charitable Gift Annuities

There are 3 common myths that have deterred donors and non-profits from utilizing this incredibly beneficial strategy...
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New Law In Effect - How Will it Impact You?

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act into law. Here are some of the changes summarized for you.How does the new law impact Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)?The law increases the age that triggers RMDs from 70½ to 72. If you turned 70½ in 2019, you will still need to take your RMD for 2019 no later than April 1, 2020. If you are currently receiving a RMD (or should be) because you are over age 70½
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Personal Charitable Pension Strategy

Personal Charitable Pension StrategyWho benefits? You personally benefit as you gain a lifetime of tax-advantaged income or you can choose a joint lifetime pension option. Next it benefits “your” favorite causes and nonprofits today or in the future and it is “your choice”.  Boomers often do not have pensions and have a need to convert assets to income with certainly and to do so in a tax advantaged manner only makes sense. Are there certain types of assets that work
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Healthcare in Retirement

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Taking IRA distributions Between 59 1/2 and 70 1/2

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One Time ROTH Contribution

Let's look at the power for time and earnings with and without taxes applied.Taxable account vereses ROTH IRA one time contribution over time. 
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True Fiduciary Means What?

I read a great article from Mindy Diamond of Diamond Consultants recently and she seems to really get the bigger picture of "Fiduciary World".  Many in the industry are trying to simply push a clean transparent product and say "I am a fiduciary."Mindy states there are five key characteristics:1) "The Ability to Serve Clients Needs First"2) "A Higher Level of Transparency"3) "A Clearer Payment Structure"4) "The Ability to Think and Act S
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Strategy to Unwind Non Qualified Annuity Efficiently

Strategy to Unwind Non Qualified Annuity EfficientlySo you bought an annuity many years ago and it has grown a lot maybe doubled or tripled in size and now creates a real tax problem if you cash it out.  Why? Because annuity will be taxed first on the last money earned.  Taxes are ordinary income rates not the lower capital gains rates. Another problem if you simply cash it out is the lump sum often pushes individual or a couple into higher income tax bracket and for those retired ofte
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Inverted Yield Curve

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Questions To Ask

Questions To AskQuestions to Ask a Financial Planner: Do you do comprehensive financial planning?Do you work for an insurance company, investment company, or a broker-dealer that manufactures insurance or investment products?Are you compensated by fees, commissions, or both? If fee, do you charge a flat fee or an hourly rate? If commission, does that offset the fees?What is your process and how many times will we meet?How many clients do you have?Do you think it is good to pay off my house by re
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Benefits of Working With A RICP

Benefits of working with an RICP®: Build a comprehensive retirement income plan that addresses income needs and other financial goals Choose your optimal retirement age Plan for the risks faced in retirement like the uncertainties of life expectancy, inflation, health status, and investment climate Make claiming decisions that maximize Social Security benefits Obtain health insurance coverage to supplement Medicare or provide coverage prior to Medicare eligibility Prepare for late-life need
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What Does Retirement Income Certified Professional Entail?

Required courses HS 353 Retirement Income Process, Strategies & Solutions: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to: Understand the steps in creating an effective retirement income planIdentify retirement income needs, objectives, and goals by evaluating the client’s current situationDetermine how to choose the appropriate retirement income strategy for your clientsEvaluate income tax, estate issues, retirement risks, and other threats to an effective retirement inco
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New Rates From VA for 2019 Aid & Attendance

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Charitable Deduction

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Bunching Your Itemized Deductions

Bunching Itemized Deductions for Tax PlanningFacts indicate there will be fewer taxpayers itemizing their taxes due to larger standard deduction amount and other changes. About 33% itemized in 2017 and in 2018 forward only expected to be 16%.Many taxpayers will fall a little under the Standard Deduction aka SD amounts from their itemized deductions (mortgage interest + real estate & state taxes (limited $10K) +charitable gifts) so Single SD= $12,000 and married SD= $24,000.  If your age
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Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401K

Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k) Selecting beneficiaries for retirement benefits is different from choosing beneficiaries for other assets such as life insurance. With retirement benefits, you need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in order to select the right beneficiaries. Although taxes shouldn't be the sole determining factor in naming your beneficiaries, ignoring the impact of taxes could lead you to make an incorrect choice. In addition, if you're m
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Marriage and Previous Credit Issues

I'm marrying someone with bad credit. How will this affect me? Answer: You are not responsible for your future spouse's bad credit or debt, unless you choose to take it on by getting a loan together to pay off the debt. However, your future spouse's credit problems can prevent you from getting credit as a couple after you're married. Even if you've had spotless credit, you may be turned down for credit cards or loans that you apply for together if your spouse has had seriou
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Merging Your Money When You Marry

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Charitable Silo Strategy for IRA Giving

Case Study of the Charitable SiloMarylou is 72 years young and generous person with roughly $800,000 in Individual Retirement Account. In addition she has two monthly income sources: State Pension $2,000 and Social Security $2,000.Currently the Required Minimum Distribution from IRA is $31,250 for 2018. Marylou usually gives $8,000 to $10,000 a year to her favorite charity. Due to higher standard deduction and being debt free and modest taxes she would not itemize or get a deduction for charitab
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Caring for Your Aging Parents

Caring for Your Aging Parents Caring for your aging parents is something you hope you can handle when the time comes, but it's the last thing you want to think about. Whether the time is now or somewhere down the road, there are steps that you can take to make your life (and theirs) a little easier. Some people live their entire lives with little or no assistance from family and friends, but today Americans are living longer than ever before. It's always better to be prepared. Mom? Dad
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What is Charitable Silo and How It Benefits You?

“Charitable Silo” May Be Perfectly Suited For Your Giving The Charitable Silo is designed for the generous individual that has reached the age 70 ½ and now facing Required Minimum Distributions from large Individual Retirement Account. This is not a donor advised fund.Maybe you have heard of Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRA and the advantages of tax neutral and meet the needs of RMD or required minimum distribution from IRA.  The Charitable Silo is unique
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Nonprofit Cash Mgt 2.0

Nonprofit Cash Management 2.0Cash Management 1.0 is covering the basics of alignment of income to expenses and tracking and mapping it. Budget basics are core to all responsible businesses.In 2.0 you have accumulated a cash nest egg with excess and now need to think about improving the return on your cash. Can you bypass the bank and go directly to government for fully back notes and bonds and do it efficiently and practically? It depends on few factors. First, are you at place where cash exceed
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Qualified Charitable Distribution From IRA-Not Always Easy

Not All IRA Custodians are Friendly About Qualified Charitable DistributionsThose individuals age 70 ½ and old can give directly from IRA to Qualified Charity and it counts towards their required minimum distribution aka RMD and it will not be counted in taxable income.   This can be significant strategy especially with higher Standard Deductions when calculating itemizing tax potential.  Couple has $5,000 in property taxes and likes to give $5,000 to annual to charity. The
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Private Foundation Quick Audit

Private Foundation Quick AuditRecently I was driving and noticed a new model Supercar with crazy over the top performance.  Inside was a very mature woman and it’s highly unlikely she would ever drive the car as fast as her age.  I then thought about another conversation with a family regarding their Private Foundation. Between their bankers, trustees, legal and accounting fees they consume about 2.5% of the total corpus each year.  They only give to qualified charities and
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The Other 92%

The Other 92%Did you know that only about 8% of assets in the United States is cash? So the other 92% is what? Not cash or stocks, bonds, real estate, annuities, mutual funds, IRA, 401K, life insurance, business interest.The picture here depicts that vast majority of nonprofits all gathered around the cash fishing hole and yet only 8% or less of assets reside here.  Cash can mean checking. savings, money markets accounts.The Other 92% presents unique opportunites and challenges that we love
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Did You Know Your Charitable Structure Could Be Changed?

You set up a community foundation account years ago and the family moved and can rollover from one community foundation to another community foundation or a donor advised fund.  Or you set up and donor advised fund or multiple donor advised funds and now would like to consolidate or move to better service model or lower cost platform.  You can move a Donor Advised Fund to another Donor Advised Fund or roll to community foundation.  If you set up private foundation you usually can
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Four Types of Pensions

Four Types of PensionsOrigin of pension1325–75; Middle English (< Old French pensïon) < Latin pēnsiōn- (stem of pēnsiō) a weighing out, hence, a paying out, installment paying, equivalent to pēns(us) (past participle of pendere to weigh out, pay by weight, equivalent to pend- verb stem + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > s) + -iōnFirst type is
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Two Hero's In Philanthropy Narrative

Two Hero’s In Philanthropy NarrativeScott Thomas, Chartered Advisor in PhilanthropyThere are two heroes in the story of philanthropy and all the other roles support the two heroes.  First hero is the “person or cause being served. “ Not the nonprofit organization or its staff and administration.  The second hero is the funder also known as donor and or volunteer.Nonprofit is at best pass through entity for funding and facilitating the services the persons or cause bei
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Universities and Hospitals tend to get the largest bequests. Why?

Several reasonable conclusions but not a single reason alone, rather overall stewardship of organization and its donor base.Applying excellence to organizations finances- proper accounting and best practices including cash management and investment committees.  Another area is systems around the donor communication and reporting.  Of course the emotional payback of business success or given another chance at life due to great health experience.  Some say the biggest reason is cons
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Want to Do Some Really Kind Planning For Your Family?

Think of deferred income tools like IRA and non-qualified annuities at the time of your death as Cancer.  Why?  Here is the painful truth about “income with respect to decedent” or IRD as tax people call it.  While the death taxes are huge now millions so few have to plan for death taxes anymore, however many have real issues with IRD.Here is problem illustrated and one possible solution.  Please seek out professional advice on this complex subject.Eileen buys $50
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Cut Out the Middle Man or Disintermediation

Disintermediation, in finance, is the withdrawal of funds from bank, to invest them directly. Generally, disintermediation is the process of removing middleman or intermediary from future transactions. Disintermediation is usually done to invest in instruments yielding a higher return. Buy US Treasury direct instead of getting lower rates on money market funds and savings.Example: $2,000,000 in cash invested with local banker and earns .15% the banks rate for cash savings and money market a
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What is a QLAC? Could This Strategy Work for You?

This a type of deferred income annuity (DIA) allowing a contract holder to purchase future lifetime income with a portion of their qualified account savings (401k, IRA, 403b etc.). The contract holder can exclude the value of that annuity from their annual required minimum distributions (RMD) calculation.Think of it as carving out up to 25% of IRA value or max $125,000 for an individual and they could elect to defer to any age up to age 85 and not required to include this money in the RMD calcul
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Have Your Advisors Told You About New Tax Law and Capital Gains?

Have Your Advisors Told You About New Tax Law and Capital Gains? It is possible for many to harvest some capital gains in 2018 at ZERO Tax.  The calculations did not work like this in 2017.  It is possible for individual to sell as much as $52,000 and pay zero tax.  It is possible for married couple to sell as much as $103,000 and pay zero tax.  Amounts above would start to be taxed at 15% for only the portion above the free limits. Higher levels taxed 20% plus 3.8%.&nbs
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Naming Charity as Beneficiary On IRA

In general, naming a charity as the primary beneficiary will not affect required distributions to you during your lifetime. However, after your death, having a charity named with other beneficiaries on the same asset could affect the tax-deferral possibilities of the noncharitable beneficiaries, depending on how soon after your death the charity receives its share of the benefits.One possible solution is to carve out the amount or percentage of the IRA to a separated account number and name 100%
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Quick Quiz: Private Foundation aka PF & Donor Advised Fund in 2018

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Why Your Nonprofit Board Needs A Fiduciary Advisor

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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck